FanimeCon 2011 June 3, 2011Posted by coolmikeol in Events, Otaku.
Tags: 2011, Anime, convention, Cosplay, Fanime, San Jose
This year I attended the anime convention called FanimeCon in San Jose, California held during the Memorial Day weekend. It was my first time going to an anime convention of this size and so is also my first FanimeCon as well. I have also attended AOD (Animation on Display) in February and the Sakura Matsuri (Cherry Blossom Festival) in San Francisco’s Japantown. The next con I’m planning to go to is the biggest con for me in terms of size and things I want to check out there, Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California in during the 4th of July weekend.
I have already done a photo posts on figure.fm. Here are the links to my photo posts about FanimeCon 2011 on figure.fm:
They are split by the days of the con, due to that the max amount of photos I can put in a single post is 80 on figure.fm, and I had approximately over 200 photos total to post to figure.fm, which is about a third of total photos I took at FanimeCon, all 600+ photos can be found on my Flickr in the set called Fanime 2011.
I use figure.fm to share my photos in a photojournalism type way, but here on Topic “Otaku” I summarize my overall experiences of events I attend.
FanimeCon 2011 – Day 1 Summary
I arrived at Fanime at about 10:30am, my plan was first to drop off my stuff at my shared hotel room at the Saint Claire, located less than a five minute walk from the convention center where Fanime was being held. Unfortunately, the person in charge of the room did not arrive yet so I had to wait until he would arrive at about 11:30am to finally drop off my stuff in the hotel room. After I was able to drop off my stuff in the hotel room and got my room card key, I went over to the convention center and got in line to pick up my badge in the pre-registration line. I didn’t wait too long, maybe about 15 minutes, way shorter than the normal line for people getting their badges who did not pre-register. After receiving my badge which has my name and fan name Coolmikeol on it, along with a Fanime bag with a booklet that contains a map and info on various events such as panels, concerts, exhibits, etc, I headed up the stairs to the main floor of FanimeCon. First off I headed off to the side to take a look at the map to find out where the eGaming room was, because I had a friend staffing in their and I wanted to visit him. I ended up visiting the video rooms first as I didn’t exactly know my direction, which were playing various animes, Asian movies, FMVs/AMVs, and more. Then I found out that the eGaming room was on the exact opposite side of where I was so I had to walk all the way to the other side of the convention center to get there. I saw my friend working and talked to him a bit before going out and exploring the rest of the con.
Since it was the first day, there wasn’t too much going on. Even the Dealers Hall (swap meet type place where you can buy various loot) and Artists Gallery was not open yet, due to open at around 2pm. I decided to just go around and take photos of the cosplay and anything else I found interesting until I figured out what else to do. Before the Dealers Hall opened up, there was a massive line extending in a couple of different directions, the first line went into the eGaming room and the second line went through the main hallway of the convention center. When Dealers Hall opened up, the first line that went into the eGaming room went in first. I was not in line at the time, as I thought I’d just enter after everyone else did due to the line being so long. After a while I noticed that the first line seemed to go on forever, figuring out that the staff was not doing their job in knowing when the end of the first line was, and that people were taking advantage of that fact to go in before the second line would go in. I actually just did the same as the others and got myself into the first line and into the Dealers Hall before the second line was suppose to. Well I blame the staff for doing a poor job in controlling the lines for me and many others being able to cut in front of the second line. Anyways once I got in to the Dealers Hall, I found myself being attracted to stay there for hours on end checking out every booth and seeing what I potentially might buy.
When I came across a booth selling Nendoroid Azusa, I immediately started to think whether or not to buy her, because I know she is a very popular Nendoroid and that she could be gone if I hesitated, and so I bought her… for $55. Yes I realize now that I could of gotten her cheaper online, and I even found another booth selling her for five dollars less, but please bear in mind that I’m new to buying figures so it’s a learning experience for me. After buying Azusa, I took pictures of most of the booths which can be found in my Flickr set already mentioned on top of this post. I was also looking for anymore potential items I might want to buy, but I felt like waiting until day 3 of the con to buy them, thinking that maybe they might lower the prices. After being done with touring around the Dealers Hall, I returned back to my hotel room to drop off my Nendoroid Azusa and just wandered around the con. I happened to bump into a couple of people I met back at AOD and hung out for a bit. I also found out that they are also readers of mine from figure.fm so I thought that was really cool. At 8pm I returned again to my hotel room and attempted to do a post about day 1 of Fanime on Figure.fm, but there was a problem which I found out later was because I timed out on my login and didn’t realize it when trying to upload a post. I gave up and just told myself that instead of wasting my time doing a post during the con, I should do it afterwards when i have more time. Past 10:30pm I went back out intending to meet up with a friend but couldn’t find him and so by midnight I returned to call it a night, getting some sleep for day 2.
FanimeCon 2011 – Day 2 Summary
Day 2 started with me taking a shower after everyone else in the hotel room, as I needed time to get into my cosplay, which was as a traditional Japanese ninja. I only saw one other one like me yesterday, not as good as my cosplay in my opinion, and so that gave me some confidence in cosplaying as I’m still relatively new to it. It took me about an hour to get into costume and make sure I got everything I needed for the day before departing from my hotel room at around 11am. Most of the day consisted of me just walking around without any thing specific I was looking for, mostly I took pictures of various cosplay, which were very random. There was cosplay from so many different series I knew and of course a lot more from series I didn’t know. I saw one cosplayer cosplaying as the Tokyo Storm Trooper, complete with the red armband that the original Tokyo Storm Trooper wears while out and about dancing.
There was Minecraft cosplay, High School of the Dead cosplay, The Last Airbender cosplay, and much more. What cosplay I saw the most of that I rarely saw so much of before is from the Hetalia series, which is a Japanese animated series that “presents an allegorical interpretation of political and historic events, particularly of the World War II era, in which the various countries are represented by anthropomorphic characters.” (Quote from Wikipedia.) There was so many people carrying around different countries flags around. To me it seemed like the series came out of nowhere as the sheer amount of Hetalia cosplay made it seem like it was a staple of current anime trends, even though I rarely saw or heard about it before at previous cons and events.
As this was my first time coplaying in a con, it was a new experience. Because being a normal person in a con can seem kind of boring a times, I wanted to try it out to bring a little attention to myself as I don’t have many con friends yet. I also wanted to cosplay for the fun of it, but currently don’t have too many ideas on what to cosplay, my first choice was to do a traditional Japanese ninja. Already though I’m feeling I should start working on a secondary cosplay that is not too constraining, the ninja costume becomes hot and hard to take off right away. By bringing some attention to myself from cosplaying, I feel I can meet new people and network that way, I was trying to network in Fanime by giving business card sized pieces of paper with my general websites on it like my blog, YouTube channel, and Flickr, to get my work to be seen by the public which is something I strive to do, to share my experiences of Japanese Pop Culture with the world. That’s why I put a lot of effort of posting stuff to Figure.fm because I know that people there will see my stuff, Topic “Otaku” still has a long way until it’s at least somewhat known.
At around 5pm I returned to my hotel room, got out of cosplay, and got ready to wait in line for MusicFest, the concert being held at the Civic Center located just across the street from the convention center. The artists who performed at MusicFest included Yuya Matsushita, and the main event was from the band FLOW, one I’m a fan of from their anime songs from Code Geass, Colors and World End. I got in line by 5:30pm which already stretched all the way behind the building, pretty much looking like it circles around the entire Civic Center. The weather was looking like rain, and indeed it did start raining when it was almost time to start entering the Civic Center, which was past 6pm. While waiting I decided to eat some cup ramen soup and some $1.50 ice cream. When I got into the Civic Center, there was still plenty of seats around, so I went for the upper level so I can get a better vantage point instead of being behind heads.
The segment with Yuya Matsushita was cool. I never heard of him before the concert. I describe him as a one man Japaneses boy band with some good music. The main event with FLOW was the most awesome part of FanimeCon for me. As I’m very much into music, Japanese pop music included, it was great seeing FLOW live. I only knew Colors and World End from Code Geass, but I sort of recognized a few of their other songs from other series such as Naruto and such. Overall their style of Japanese Pop Rock has really made me a true fan of FLOW and has reminded me so much of why I love Japanese Pop music.
FanimeCon 2011 – Day 3 Summary
The third day of Fanime started off just like the second day, with me getting back into cosplay. I was planning to go to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica cosplay gathering to take a whole bunch of photos because I loved the anime and its mind games. I was also expecting my family to come visit me as well, it was the first time they saw me in cosplay and so it surprised them. Originally I was going to wait until Halloween to show off my ninja costume, but when they said they wanted to come over to see what was going on at the con, I decided that this would be a good time too. At some pointwhile I was wandering around the Dealers Room again, I saw FLOW in the crunchyroll.com booth to my big surprise. They weren’t out of reach like on stage, but only a few steps from me. To be this close to a famous Japanese rock band which has sung some of my favorite songs was so surreal, that my mind was not reacting as much as a fan would be reacting. I just took a few shots of them while being interviewed with the crunchyroll.com team and left.
Later in the afternoon I decided to check out the Cosplay Spectacular aka Masquerade at 6pm which included an opening performance from Hideo (which bored me at AOD), some walk on cosplayers, and acts/skits. Some of the acts/skits were pretty good, but I didn’t stay for the entire event. Leaving the Civic Auditorium at about 8pm, I returned to my hotel room to change out of my cosplay (yes I was in cosplay while attending the Masquerade) and decided to walk around the area on the con during the final night of the con as Fanime would end in the middle of the afternoon the next day. I checked out the Black and White Ball scene at the Fairmount Hotel about a couple of blocks away from the convention center. The Black and White Ball is a formal ballroom dance party, that has a strict dress policy, but does allow cosplay that in within those circumstances. I wasn’t dressed to get into the ball, even more so that I did not know how to dance ballroom style (there were dance practices that teach you how to do various ballroom dances), so I was not allowed entry. Maybe I might check it out at next year’s FanimeCon, though I don’t know if I will dance. After visiting the game room back at the con watching Madoka cosplayers playing Super Smash Bros Brawl, I returned to my hotel room, tired and thinking about what I was going to do for the final day of FanimeCon, Day 4.
FanimeCon 2011 – Day 4 Summary
The final day was quite short for me. I woke up past 9am and had to pack up all my stuff and be ready to be checked out of the room by 10am because the guy in charge of the room said that it’s the best time to because they were attending panels that were after that time. They had cars to put their stuff in, I was stuck lugging my luggage, a bag of food, my sleeping bag, and all my loot around the con while waiting for my ride to pick me up at about past noon time. My plan for the day was to go into the Dealers Room and sign up for the crunchyroll.com free two week period, but I didn’t have my credit card with me so I ended up not signing up. I could of gotten a free T-shirt and a chance at prizes too… While at the crunchyroll.com booth, they were streaming the live feed video they have been doing for the entire con, and some people came around and did the Thriller dance live on the crunchyroll.com stream. I don’t know how many of you were home watching the crunchyroll.com live feed from Fanime, but it was awesome on our end. Comments made on the live video were shown in NicoNico Douga style; the comments would go across the screen at the time the comments were made, except they were in English of course. At 11am there was a Negima/Love Hina cosplay gathering and so I decided to go because Negima is my most favorite series since I got into Japanese Pop Culture.
At about 1pm my ride came around and so I was able to put my stuff into a car finally. I didn’t leave the area as soon as my ride got to the con, first we had lunch at a nearby restaurant called Asian Express. Oddly enough, it resembled a Panda Express so much with its style and food without it stating that it was a part of Panda Express, so I was a bit confused if it was. Then we toured the areas around the con I didn’t go to, finding various restaurants and stores that would be useful in next years FanimeCon 2012. I left the FanimeCon area at about 3pm and returned home in San Francisco by about 4:30pm.
FanimeCon 2011 – Overall Summary
My overall experience of FanimeCon 2011 is a mixed one, filled with laughter, excitement, and fun of meeting people, but at the same time I was alone for most of the time, and even though there was a lot of things going on around me, not too many things sparked my interest as I originally imagined FanimeCon would. I’m not saying at all that Fanime was bad, it’s just that since there wasn’t too many events that I was interested in, it played a role in me becoming slightly bored at times just wandering the con looking for things to do. A person I know kept on saying on his facebook that Fanime was so awesome and all, and the reasoning behind it was because he got to meet many people and guests that he wanted to meet. It was the opposite situation on my end. I will say that Fanime helped to open the window of how cons work so that I can enjoy them better. I learned a lot of things to help my anime convention experiences better, like for starters, don’t bring too much stuff as if you’re staying in your hotel room. I ended up bringing more stuff than I actually used. Food bringing at least helped to lower my cost of food while at the con, but I still had a decent amount of food left to carry around after checking out of the room. Second thing I learned, do your research into the things you want to see at the con, such as panels and events, and know where things are with maps. For like the first couple of days on Fanime, I didn’t know where the panels were being held, and the events I attended were purely random as I wasn’t following a schedule all the time, I was just walking around and going where the crowd and loud sounds went. The third thing I learned is very crucial to making a con experience better, being with people instead of being by yourself. While there may be advantages to being alone during a con such as not having to drag someone around who wants to be somewhere else, the fun is from being able to talk with others about your interests and such. Isn’t anime conventions a way to network in real life with other people with similar interests? That’s what I believe, and I attempted to network by giving out business card sized pieces of paper containing links of my blog, YouTube, and Flickr, but I found myself to be passive in giving them out. I know now that I need to be more aggressive in networking if I am to make new friends and acquaintances, so when I attend Anime Expo, I will try to give out my networking info to every cosplayer I take a photo of and to people I chat with in hopes of making myself more known to the world as a casual Blogger, YouTuber, and Photographer.
I know Anime Expo will be a better experience for me as I have a lot of guests that I want to meet there such as Blogger Danny Choo who is an inspiration to me as a blogger, Kalafina who is a musical group known for their music from anime series such as Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Hatsune Miku who is a popular virtual idol from the Vocaloid series, Maon Kurosaki who is a singer who has done songs from the Toaru Majutsu no Index II series and High School of the Dead anime ending songs, and Takanori Aki who is president of Good Smile Company who produces figures and the Nendoroid series. I can’t wait for Anime Expo, and the guest list keeps on getting better and better so I believe this will be the peak of my summer vacation.